Lovie Smith would have loved to have reunited with one of his best friends on his new Bucs' staff, but Rod Marinelli already had a job. Marinelli was promoted from defensive line coach in Dallas to defensive coordinator after the Cowboys allowed the most yards in team history last season.
"It’s not that we didn't want to [hire Marinelli]; we couldn’t," Smith said Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine. "Rod had a contract somewhere else. Would I want to work with Rod Marinelli again? Of course. There’s a pact we formed ...in Tampa in 1996. Again, I’ll be looking from afar, knowing good things are going to happen."
Marinelli and Smith were on Tony Dungy's first staff in Tampa in 1996. Marinelli coached the defensive line, and Smith the linebackers. They worked together for five seasons. The two reunited after Marinelli was fired as head coach of the Lions and hired as an assistant with the Bears under Smith.
After one season as assistant head coach, Marinelli served as the Bears defensive coordinator for three seasons before leaving for Dallas after Smith was fired.
Smith gives Marinelli a vote of confidence in Marinelli's attempt to turn around the Cowboys defense.
"He's going to bring out the best," Smith said. "Whatever the potential says there, that’s what you’re going to get from Rod. It’s going to be clarity with everything he wants done. There’s no BS to him. It’s in black and white. You hear a lot of people talking about the fundamentals and what you have to do, and that’s what Rod does on a daily basis."
The Cowboys switched from the 3-4 to the 4-3 before the start of last season.
-- Charean Williams